Help for corporate editors

October 15, 2012
Developing great stories and features for your corporate intranet or newsletter is a time-consuming and often thankless task. You spend hours researching and writing articles that are read in a matter of minutes (if at all) and then displaced almost immediately by the next feature. Expectations are high and the workload is relentless, yet feedback (let alone praise) is hard to come by. What’s a corporate editor to do? As a former in-house editor, I’m aware of the realities of daily publishing for an employee audience. Corporate editors don’t lack creativity – what they lack is time and distance from the never-ending cycle of editorial management. It’s hard to try something new if you never pause. Hopefully I can save you some time and effort by suggesting easy ways to build your content pipeline that don’t rely on the traditional story development process. Here’s the first in my series on how to generate “more content with less sweat.” Tip #1: Shift to live coverage of events. If you enjoy begging for quotes from executives who are constantly traveling, or trying to recreate an inspiring keynote from a PowerPoint deck, feel free to ignore this suggestion. The rest of us should heed this advice: Just say no to post-event recaps.  Event summaries are a fact of life for corporate communicators, but that doesn’t mean they have to drag you down. [no_blockquote text="Event summaries are a fact of life for corporate communicators, but that doesn’t mean they have to drag you down." text_color="c4262e" title_tag="h4" width="" line_height="" background_color="" border_color="" show_quote_icon="yes" quote_icon_color="a9a9a9" quote_icon_size=""] The best option, if you can swing it, is to live-blog from the meeting. Writing the story as its happening not only saves time but enables you to capture the mood and energy of the event. You won’t have to guess when the audience laughed or sat at the edge of their seats. If you can’t be there yourself, find another writer or volunteer to post live updates. Or create a hashtag on Twitter (or your internal social media platform) to collect real-time insights from multiple attendees. You might lose a little editorial control this way, but think about what you’ll gain instead: freshness, immediacy and involvement with your audience. Above all, remember that event-related news is a highly perishable commodity that you want off your shelves as quickly as possible. Unless you are adding major value to the content (by embedding video for example), don’t publish event-related coverage that takes longer than a day to produce. Anything that remains in your pipeline longer should be quietly euthanized. Trust me: no one will miss it. Watch this space for future installments of “Help for corporate editors.” If you need creative and strategic support with editorial planning, readership surveys or envisioning new possibilities for your publication, Brilliant Ink can help.
Alison Harrison

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